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Atlanta Food Walks – downtown southern food tours perfect for visitors and residents

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What’s the difference between Southern Food and Soul Food? How is the British and Native American influence still prevalent in our food today? What does a juice bar have to do with Southern Food? Find out on Atlanta Food Walks.

Lead by a lawyer turned tour operator, Akila McConnell, the Atlanta Food Walks are just as much full of historical insights as much as belly filling southern food. McConnell is also a food and travel writer, so she is very familiar with the restaurants as well as the history of the downtown neighborhoods we visited during the tour.

This Atlanta Food Walks tour is a terrific choice for those that are visiting Atlanta as well as those that don’t venture to downtown often. I really thought that having been to several restaurants on this tour, I wouldn’t learn much, but I was really surprised how much of a historical education I got. I won’t spoil the surprise by giving away details, but suffice it to say, even if you’ve lived in Atlanta for a while there is still quite a bit you’ll glean about the city’s rich history on this food tour.

Tour Info:
When: Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays at 11 a.m., Sundays at 11:30 am
Duration: Around 3.5 hours
Cost:$75 adults, $55 children (ages 10 and younger)
What’s included:  7 restaurants (enough for lunch)

Some of the graffiti artwork you’ll see on the food tour

Because we were walking around the downtown area, we were exposed to some beautiful graffiti art. McConnell has done extensive research on not only the history of Atlanta but even more recent information, like this renewed interest in street art. She was able to tell us some of the history behind some of the artists that had “decorated” some of the buildings we strolled by in downtown Atlanta.

On our tour were visitors from Sweden, Germany and England as well as locals. We even had a Gluten-Free eater. If you contact them in advance they can accommodate most food restrictions, including vegetarian, gluten-free, and allergy-restricted diets, which is a nice bonus. However, I don’t know that this tour would be fun for teens, as the site recommends. Maybe for some but not for all.

Our group stumbled upon the new Captain America movie set


Although I’d eaten there previously, I thought the best stop on the food tour was the first – Paschal’s. There’s a lot to the Paschal’s story, including an important role they played in the Civil Rights Movement. Oh and then there’s their fried chicken! What a delicious treat that was. We also stopped at  Sweet Auburn Seafood restaurant. Their rich and decadent Shrimp and Grits was even better than I’d expected.

L: Fried chicken at Paschal’s, R: Sampling at Smoke Ring

While 15 tastes sounds overwhelming, the portions are very manageable. However, I could have done without the juice and tea tasting. But maybe that’s because I’ve tried those spots before. I appreciate the significance of having them on the tour but I’d rather have had a shorter tour.

Also, note that the tour ends quite far from the start and your options are walking (about 30 mins) or taking a cab ($10) back to your car. I would’ve Ubered it, but as luck would have it, my Uber app was acting up the day of the tour, so instead of a 5 minute wait for an Uber, it was like a 20+ minute wait for a cab, and a long ride in Friday afternoon traffic home.

For visitors and locals the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, where the tour ends, is a wonderful spot for those who have not ever been and somewhere un-touristy. After the tour officially ends, you can wander around and check out different eateries at your leisure. You can book your tour on the Atlanta Food Walks website here.

Disclosure: My ticket was complimentary, but the opinions expressed are my own. 

Read about more downtown Atlanta restaurants and hot spots:

Alma Cocina
Amalfi Pizza
Atlanta Food Walks
Der Biergarten
Downtown Food Walks
Guide to the Ultimate Girls Weekend in Atlanta
Downtown Atlanta Hyatt Staycation
Legal Seafoods
Naan Stop
Nikolai’s Roof
ParkBar – Burger spot in downtown Atlanta
Paschal’s restaurant
Peachtree Center Must Try Restaurants
Polaris – revolving restaurant at the Hyatt Atlanta
Poor Calvin’s Asian fusion
RED Restaurant at Philips Arena
Skyview Ferris Wheel
Smoke Ring – barbecue joint in Castleberry Hill
The Sun Dial at the Westin Hotel in downtown Atlanta
White Oak Kitchen and Cocktails
Young Augustine’s